10 Popular Marvel Villains (& Their Greatest Victory)

A split image of The Amazing Spider-Man #122, Secret Wars (2015) #4, and Wolverine #127 from Marvel Comics


Marvel’s villains are an important part of the publisher’s output. Villains get to do things as characters that the heroes can’t, and they provide the conflict for the stories. Supervillains get beat a lot, something that can hurt them in the eyes of readers. A villain who can’t beat the hero they fight isn’t a threat and stories starring them have no stakes.


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That’s why it’s important for villains to get victories. Many of Marvel’s most iconic villains have won some amazing victories, proving they could be superior. These victories often had lasting ramifications on the hero and the Marvel Universe overall, with Green Goblin destroying Spider-Man’s personal life, Doctor Doom controlling the multiverse, and more.

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10 Loki

Greatest Victory: Conquering Asgard In Loki (2005)

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Thor and Loki’s rivalry has always been over the throne of Asgard. The brothers have had knock down, drag-out battles over the Golden City. Usually, Thor defeats his brother, but that didn’t happen in Loki (2005), by writer Robert Rodi and artist Esad Ribic. This comic opened up with Loki in command of Asgard, having defeated his brother and gotten his wish.

Loki has won in small ways many times, but getting the big victory was pretty rare for him at this point. He’d eventually get defeated, but this story dug deep into what happens when the dog catches the car. Loki learned a lesson in the story – conquering something wasn’t holding it.

9 Apocalypse

Greatest Victory: Conquering The World In The Future

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Apocalypse's true form from Marvel Comics

Apocalypse was long played as an end boss for the X-Men and their allies, and there’s a very good reason for that: at some point in the future, Apocalypse conquers the world. Cable was raised in a future where Apocalypse had been in charge of the planet for thousands of years. Readers didn’t get to spend much time in this world – with highlights like The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, by writer Scott Lobdell and artist Gene Han, and Askani’Son, by writers Scott Lobdell and Jeph Loeb and artist Gene Ha, set there.

Fans did get to see Apocalypse lose one battle that would have netted him the future, when he gathered the Twelve in order to become a god. However, other futures have been seen where he still succeeds at some point. It seems his ultimate victory is inevitable across the Marvel multiverse.

8 Magneto

Greatest Victory: Defeating Uranos

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Magneto rallies the mutants of Arakko despite having his heart ripped out by Uranos

Magneto wasn’t a villain at this time, working with Storm and the Great Circle of Arakko to defend the mutant planet in Judgment Day, by writer Kieron Gillan and artist Valerio Schiti, but this one definitely counts. The Eternals unleashed Uranos on the planet, and the savage Eternal ravaged the world. Magneto tried to fight him, but had his heart destroyed by Uranos. That was the only beginning.

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Magneto survived by using his powers to keep his blood pumping, surviving the battle. He helped defeat Uranos’s hunter/killer drones and then got to business. With Storm by his side supplying him with electromagnetic energy, Magneto defeated Uranos, taking the Eternal out of the fight. Unfortunately, Magneto died afterward. It was such an epic that made anything else he’s done pale in comparison.

7 Bullseye

Greatest Victory: Killing Elektra

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Bullseye stabbing Elektra with her own sai in Marvel Comics

Bullseye is an amazing marksman, but he can kill up close and personal as well. This was a lesson Elektra learned the hard way. Bullseye came after her after she left Kingpin’s employ and the two had a hellacious battle. However, as formidable as Elektra was, she had no hope against Bullseye on this day. He used one of her own sai to run her through.

This was the peak of Bullseye career. He’s been back numerous times, killing enemies and terrorizing Daredevil, but this is the kill that showed readers exactly how tough and evil Bullseye was. He’s had some other victories in the ensuing years, but none of them has matched this.

6 Kingpin

Greatest Victory: Destroying Daredevil’s Life

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Daredevil saving Karen Page in Marvel Comics

Kingpin and Daredevil’s long-standing grudge has had so many ups and downs. While the crime lord first started fighting Spider-Man, Daredevil would become his chief nemesis. The two have thrown the kitchen sink at each other, but Kingpin’s most damaging win came in Daredevil: Born Again, by writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli.

Kingpin discovered Daredevil’s secret identity and went full scorched earth on the hero. Matt Murdock’s life was completely destroyed, Kingpin hitting from every possible angle. It seemed like Kingpin had put his longtime foe down, but Daredevil taught Kingpin that a man with nothing to lose is a man without fear.

5 Baron Zemo

Greatest Victory: Defeating The Avengers With The Masters Of Evil

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Avengers lying in defeat in rubble in Marvel Comics

Baron Zemo has been a successful villain, with his greatest victory comes at the head of the Masters of Evil in Avengers: Under Siege, by writer Roger Stern and artist John Buscema. Zemo had been trying to avenge his dead father by battling Captain America and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and attacked Avengers Mansion with the most formidable Masters of Evil yet. This blitz assault crippled the Avengers.

Zemo’s tactical genius was the key to the victory. He used the members of his team to divide and conquer the heroes. They drove them out of Avengers Mansion, captured Cap, brutalized Jarvis and almost killed Hercules. The Avengers would mount their comeback, but for a while the Masters of Evil lived up to their name.

4 Red Skull

Greatest Victory: Assassinating Captain America

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Captain America bleeds to death in Civil War

Red Skull is a ruthless villain, having spent decades fighting for Nazi ideology. He and Captain America have been clashing for years, with Red Skull often coming up short. However, he had the perfect chance after Civil War. Red Skull had been enmeshing Cap in a cat’s cradle of danger, and when he was in custody after surrendering to Iron Man, Red Skull struck.

Using the mind-controlled Sharon Carter, Skull finally succeeding in defeating his foe. She shot him in the stomach, and he bled out at the scene. Of course, this being Red Skull, he had also suspended Steve in time in the moments before his death, which would prove his undoing, but it was still the best he had ever done.

3 Green Goblin

Greatest Victory: Kidnapping Gwen Stacy

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Spider-Man vowing revenge after the death of Gwen Stacy

Green Goblin and Spider-Man have had brutal battles, with both giving as good as they got. However, Green Goblin’s kidnapping of Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man #121-122, by writer Gerry Conway and artist Gil Kane, is still his greatest victory. Bringing her to the George Washington Bridge, he and Spider-Man fought their most personal battle.

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Green Goblin threw Gwen of the bridge and Spider-Man caught her with a webline. However, the line snapping taut broke her neck, meaning Spider-Man killed her himself. This blow against Spider-Man established Green Goblin as his greatest nemesis, since no one else had caused such heartache to the Wall-Crawler.

2 Sabretooth

Greatest Victory: Demolishing Wolverine In Wolverine (Vol. 2) #127

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The cover to Marvel Comics' Wolverine 127 Cropped

Wolverine and Sabretooth are bitter enemies, having ripped at each other for years. Sabretooth and Wolverine’s battle would see the villain get a physical advantage, but he always lost, often because of Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton and claws. That’s why his victory over Wolverine in Wolverine (Vol. 2) #127, by writer Chris Claremont and artist Leinil Yu, is so ironic.

Sabretooth attacked Wolverine, shorn of the metal, as he was marrying Viper. The two fought and Wolverine thought he had the upper hand. This wasn’t at all the case, as Sabretooth revealed he had the adamantium skeleton and claws. Sabretooth demolished Wolverine, showing just how much of an advantage the adamantium was.

1 Doctor Doom

Greatest Victory: Becoming God Emperor Doom

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>God Emperor Doom rips out Thanos' skeleton in Secret Wars 8 in Marvel Comics

Doctor Doom is a Marvel legend, considered by many to be the publisher’s greatest villain. A big reason for this is that Doom has some pretty impressive victories over the years, but none can match the one readers saw in Secret Wars (2015), by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic. Doom had worked behind the scenes to gain godlike power, and used it to save the multiverse from the Incursions.

Rebuilding creation in his image, he became God Emperor Doom. Doom had finally won, and was the beloved monarch of reality. He ended up giving away his godhood, ending his rule of all there was. It was the greatest apex in a career full of such moments.

NEXT: The 15 Strongest Marvel Characters



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